If you are thinking about resolutions as we head into the new year, you might want to consider making room for this on your list…….a flu shot! The Arizona Department of Health Services reports that flu activity is increasing – 210 confirmed cases in 10 counties over the past week. And the brunt of the flu season is still ahead of us.
“They use two sources of data,” Dr. Cara Christ with the state Department of Health said. “The community source – which can be anybody who signs up to voluntarily and anonymously report how they’re feeling – or you can pick CDC (Centers for Disease Control) flu activity.”
Christ said the department closely watches cases of the illness between October and May, but peak season in Arizona is usually between February and May.
A recent Tucson.com report said, “As of Dec. 9, only 40 percent of Americans had been vaccinated — nearly 2 percent fewer than at the same time last year, the CDC reported.” If you are one of the 60 percent of people who are willing to roll the dice and figure that you made it through the holidays so you’re likely out of the woods….don’t forget how hard our state was hit by the flu bug last February.
If you’re looking for a flu shot clinic in your neighborhood, check out Arizona 211 or Stop the Spread AZ. While the shot isn’t a guarantee against getting the flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims it can reduce the risk by 50%-to-60%. The CDC added that the flu “causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands or tens of thousands of deaths each year in the United States.” Older adults and children are particularly vulnerable.
Whether you did or didn’t get a flu shot this year – we’d love to hear from you. Tell us why….and let us know if the flu is starting to creep into your neighborhood. Driving meaningful dialogue around key health issues in our state, like the flu, is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!